Category: Politics

CulturePolitics

Guns and American Exceptionalism

“17 left dead in 6 short minutes of terror” read the latest headline!

The merchants of death and their cult of gun owners is still marching triumphantly in the aftermath of yet another mass killing spree at an American school.

As usual, there are only a few lone voices crying in the wilderness, demanding the US government take measures to stop the slaughter of innocents.

Do that many Americans really feel that the right to have unrestricted freedom to own and carry military-grade automatic weapons is more important than the safety of the people they love the most? Because, I’m sorry, that’s the way it looks to the rest of the world at the moment.

People from Australia, a country that changed gun ownership laws in response to mass shootings there, are quick to point out that their sensible laws have stopped this sort of mass bloodshed from happening on Australian soil.

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Human RightsPolitics

Standing Up for Palestinians

This is not an article arguing the pros and cons of the State of Israel’s right to defend itself against outside enemies that might want to do it or its people harm. Nor am I writing this to plead for or against the US Government’s decision to recognize the whole city of Jerusalem as the legitimate capital of Israel. And, I’m certainly not going to pontificate that I have a solution to problems of coexistence in that region of the Middle East that date back millennia.

This is, however, a plea for the American people to speak out and demand that the US Government continue providing humanitarian aid for the neediest Palestinians at a time when the world is definitely paying attention and questioning almost every aspect of American leadership.

In case you haven’t heard or read about it, here’s what I’m referring to:

The US Government is withholding humanitarian aid to more than 5 million Palestinians across the Middle East as leverage to force the Palestinian Authority into a new round of peace talks.

The aid money–$355 million in 2017—is for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), one of the largest organizations providing funds for services and infrastructure to Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

While sitting opposite Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week, US President Trump proclaimed, “That money is on the table and that money’s not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace.”

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Politics

Being Politically Correct vs Showing Humanity

On Thursday, during a meeting of US Senators from both sides of the aisle who had assembled at the White House to discuss immigration reform, Donald Trump is reported to have labeled African countries (in general) as ‘shitholes’. It isn’t clear what he truly thinks of Haiti, El Salvador and Honduras, which were also being discussed at the time.
Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ) have voiced their disdain for the damage Trump’s words have caused to the world’s view of “American ideals and patriotism”. Why are these the lone voices of dissent within the President’s party?

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EnvironmentPolitics

A new Dark Age in America

By further revealing his administration’s incredibly backward looking energy policy, Donald Trump has once again made it clear that he’s only concerned about maintaining the status quo. In an effort to cement wealth in the hands of an elite few, he and his minions are seeking to give away even more taxpayer dollars to the corporate robber barons, especially in the field of energy.

Troglodytes like Trump still seem stuck in the Iron Age while many of the USA’s largest and most profitable industries have radically changed…

Antiquated policies that reward and support the oil, gas and dirty-burning coal industries at the expense of emerging energy-producing technologies will, over the long term, create fewer American jobs, make the US more energy-dependent and continue contributing to the warming of a planet that’s seriously close to its ecological tipping point.

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Politics

The Kurd’s Destiny

Iraq in the summer is a true broiler, although not necessarily more so than what I’d left behind in Oman. Here however, the lack of a reliable supply of electricity meant daily intermittent power cuts while the university electricians transferred to an alternate grid provided by immense electrical generators that sat just inside the blast walls behind the main university administration building. During these transition periods, we would all—teachers and students alike–perspire profusely inside the suffocating space created by the sheet-metal walls of our prefab classrooms. These blackouts were random and could come at any time in any part of the city and eventually became just another routine part of daily life in Iraq.

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Politics

America’s Latest Culture War

The flashpoints that sparked the clash between world views earlier this month in Charlottesville, Virginia are just the latest battle in the decades-long culture war over racial and economic inequality in the USA. Once again, groups on the left and right of America’s political extremes (along with others) are battling it out in online forums and public protests. The most recent lightning rods are American Civil War monuments to white generals and soldiers who fought for the Southern Confederacy to maintain their (economic) right to own slaves. It was, of course, the slaves that allowed the South to prosper by providing the manual labor needed to run vast agricultural plantations.

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Politics

What’s Real?

Is anyone else having difficulty these days sorting reality from fiction??? Life seems more and more like the plot of a dystopian movie that’s set in a world where the public at large exists in a tube-fed state of reality (but not a blissful one), and seems to have no will to challenge the dominant paradigm that’s controlling them. In this drama, the masses seem to exist within the confines of a Reality TV series where they’re controlled by a ‘Big Brother’ entity–a sort of quasi corporate/government hybrid.
Yes, I am referring to the current state of the government of the United States of America and how it relates to both the ‘American’ people and the world at large. I’m also referring to the failure of the USA’s two party political system. In my humble view, both the Republican and Democratic National Committees, which openly operate like major corporations, only exist to polarize the population and therefore divide and conquer, an obviously winning political strategy historically used by successive world governments to gain power and control over the masses. Is what’s profitable for a major corporation also what’s beneficial to its customers—in this case, the ‘American’ public?

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Politics

The alt-right movement

The most alarming trend I see in the USA and other Western countries at the moment is the growing support for the alt-right movement and its obsession with race. Richard Spencer, the current golden boy of the Alt-Right movement in the USA, has repeatedly denied being a white supremacist and in a December 2016 interview with CNN reporter Sara Ganim said, “Only white people can support what we call Western civilization.” He has also advocated a “peaceful ethnic cleansing,” with those of non-European descent voluntarily leaving the United States. Is this a likely scenario? Fortunately for the well-being of the USA’s economy, arts and culture, it’s highly unlikely. The Atlantic allowed Spencer to tell his own story in this 2016 interview. Take a look and then please read on.
Trump’s election rhetoric and the Alt-Right
The thing I deplored most about Donald Trump’s election campaign rhetoric was his verbal bigotry openly aimed at women, the physically challenged and racial and religious minorities. By firing up his supporters with what would normally be considered as ‘hate-speech’ at his political rallies, Trump led the way in making it okay for folks like Spencer to come out of the closet and throw off the white sheets. With his clean-cut, 1950s all-American good looks (which is fitting since Spencer uses appearance as his base line for separating one group from another), Spencer seems to be the perfect poster boy for the movement. He’s well-spoken and looks like a normal young suburban guy who might live next door. The most alarming thought to me is that he just might be, but perhaps it’s better for us to be able to identify who these radical racists are on a day to day basis rather than waking up in the middle of the night to find a cross burning in the front yard without a soul being in sight.

“Trump is a white nationalist, so to speak, he is alt-right whether he likes it or not.” Richard Spencer in a recent interview on The David Pakman Show.

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